Manchester United survived an enormous scare against minnows Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday night. The Red Devils dominated the first half of an eventful Group E contest in Cyprus, yet found themselves a goal behind at the interval after Karim Ansarifard finished off a brilliant counter that was the hosts’ first real attack of the evening.
Erik ten Hag threw on Marcus Rashford at half-time and quickly got his reward as the substitute equalised within seven minutes after profiting from a brilliant Bruno Fernandes pass. Fellow replacement Anthony Martial then came off the bench to score with his first involvement to put United ahead 2-1.
Rashford’s second effort six minutes from time looked to have put the game beyond Omonia, only for Nikolas Panayiotou to score a second for Neil Lennon’s plucky side mere seconds later. That set up a grandstand finish, with United eventually coming away with a hard-fought three points despite Cristiano Ronaldo being unable to dispatch his 700th career club goal, despite plenty of opportunities. Follow Omonia vs Manchester United reaction LIVE with Standard Sport’s blog below!
Man United second in Group E
Real Sociedad won 2-0 against Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova tonight, thanks to goals from David Silva and Aritz Elustondo.
That means the Basque side top Europa League Group E on nine points after matchday three, with United three behind in second and three ahead of third-placed Sheriff.
Omonia sit bottom, still without a point to their name.
United’s next European outing is against Omonia at Old Trafford next Thursday (October 13) before Sheriff visit Manchester on October 27.
First up for Ten Hag’s men is a Premier League trip to Merseyside to face Frank Lampard’s Everton on Sunday night.
Omonia 2-3 Manchester United
Substitutes to the rescue for United, but that was way too close for comfort.
All credit to the hosts, who gave that a real good go and almost got their reward.
94 mins: Shaw into the book for United.
Omonia then earn a last-gasp free-kick that they’ll swing into the box.
They couldn’t, could they?!
No, the delivery is cleared and Ronaldo almost runs into trouble before the final whistle sounds.
93 mins: Ronaldo is desperate to notch that 700th club goal tonight, but it’s just not happening.
He embarks on another purposeful run, executes another great turn but can’t find the target with his latest strike.
90 mins: Four minutes of added time at the end of this eventful second half.
Just not Ronaldo’s night as he spurns one chance and then Rashford tries to tee him up again when he could have made it 4-2 himself.
GOAL! Omonia 2-3 Manchester United | Nikolas Panayiotou 85′
85 mins: Wow! Two strikes in quick succession and United’s lead is back to just the one goal with five minutes plus stoppage time to go.
Late drama in Cyprus. Ten Hag won’t be happy.
It was Panayiotou up from the back who scored it, firing home after a deflected cutback.
Woeful defending from United, it must be said.
We’ve got a grandstand finish on our hands.
GOAL! Omonia 1-3 Manchester United | Marcus Rashford 84’
84 mins: Game, set and match, surely!
Rashford and Ronaldo combine to great effect, with the former turning home at the back post after the latter had tried to pick out the bottom corner with a low strike.
Omonia’s chance for a famous result looks to have gone.
81 mins: Into the final 10 minutes in Nicosia and it’s end-to-end stuff at the moment, with Omonia still looking dangerous at times and Ronaldo the major threat for United, with his latest opportunity curtailed before he can get a shot away inside the box.
77 mins: WOODWORK!
Dalot profits from an error and rounds Fabiano before teeing up compatriot Ronaldo, whose first-time finish bounces back off the post!
How did that not go in?! So close to club goal number 700.
2-1 to the visitors it remains.
75 mins: While United remain in pursuit of a third goal, Omonia are still posing a credible threat on the counter as things stand.
This contest is far from over.